By Brady Henderson
RENTON – Richard Sherman has his big pay and the Seahawks have another key member of their defense locked up for the long term.
Cornerback Richard Sherman was all smiles Wednesday while discussing the four-year extension that will keep him under contract with Seattle through 2018. (AP) | More photos
Sherman, as gracious as ever, thanked a long list of people who have been instrumental in his rise to one of the best players in the NFL. That list included Seahawks owner Paul Allen, whom Sherman humorously thanked for "anteing up" with a contract that will make Sherman the NFL's highest paid cornerback.
"It's really a blessing just to be able to sit up here and to have this interview and to understand all the hard work has paid off," he said. "I guess this is how it feels to be a first-rounder for a change."
Never afraid to proclaim himself to be the NFL's best cornerback, Sherman now has a contract that pays him as such.
The details, according to Sherman's own blog: a total value of $57.4 million and a whopping $40 million guaranteed. According to Tom Pelissero of USA Today, the $57.4 million takes into account the $1.4 million Sherman was scheduled to make in 2014, which is the final year of his rookie deal. That means the $56 million in new money over the four years of the extension will pay him an average of $14 million, easily surpassing cornerback Darrelle Revis' deal with the Patriots.
The contract is the a another milestone in an already-illustrious career that has seen him make a Pro Bowl, be named a first-team All-Pro twice and win a Super Bowl – all in just three seasons.
It's also the latest chapter in a story that is almost hard to believe, no matter how many times it's evoked. Sherman talked about his rise from humble beginnings in Compton, Calif., where he would wear shoes with holes in the soles. Then to an oversized and overlooked prospect coming out of Stanford, where perceived flaws in his game caused him to fall to the fifth round of the 2011 draft. And to where he is now: one of the NFL's preeminent players and an athlete influential enough to dine with – and be imitated by – President Barack Obama.
"I think this is truly a great American story right here," Schneider said.
Sherman becomes the third defensive player the Seahawks have locked up for the long term with significant extensions this offseason, following defensive lineman Michael Bennett and free safety Earl Thomas. It's been an otherwise quiet free-agency period for Seattle, which Schneider said was part of the plan.
"Obviously our goals we set our for this offseason were we were going to try to take care of our own," he said. "We've tread lightly in free agency to be able to take care of our own guys, and we're just extremely proud that this day has come. Proud of what we've been able to do so far."